June 25, 2013

187 FHCL workers made redundant

Publish date/time: 25/06/2013 [17:02]

A total of 187 workers from the Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited have been made redundant due to the closure of the Waivunu Sawmill and the Navutu Manufacturing yard.

The workers have been issued with redundancy notices of which 169 workers are members of the Fiji Public Service Association.

General Secretary Rajeshwar Singh said the workers should have been given their redundancy notice of 30 days before the FHCL board made its decision.

He said the redundancy package given to the workers will not be enough as the members will also have to pay the FPSA Credit Union.

He said the FHCL board should reconsider their decision to ensure jobs are made available to the mill workers either with the company or provide alternate employment in the relevant sector.

Meanwhile in a government statement yesterday the FHCL board assured the affected 76 workers at Navutu and 111 workers at Waivunu sawmill will be paid 30 days leave in lieu of notice, redundancy pay of one weeks wages for each year of employment and all outstanding annual leave and long service leave entitlements.

Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited added that these payments are in addition to the paid leave that the board provided to the employees at Navutu and Waivunu over the past three weeks from the 31st of May, 2013.

The closure of the two mills is a result of the massive financial loss of the Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited since 2004.

Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited also revealed that the two operations will soon be advertised for sale by tender.

Recently the Navutu and Waivunu sites have been the targets of theft, with more than $24,000 of cash, equipment and timber stolen in the past 14 months. 

Police are still investigating the matter.

Meanwhile FHCL received more than $15.9 million of government grants from 1998 until 2006 and it has also accumulated more than $21.4 million of government guaranteed loans by 2010.

Story by: Watisoni Butabua

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